Maui Housing Apartments Closer to Affordability

January 31, 2018, 7:29 AM HST · Updated January 31, 7:29 AM
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Residents of the Front Street apartments on Maui are closely monitoring a bill that was introduced at the state capitol yesterday.

Front Street Apartments. PC: Google 2012.

The Senate Housing Committee on Tuesday advanced Senate Bill 2293 that would mandate the State to start negotiations to either keeping the units affordable, or to acquire the property.

The Front Street apartments in Lahaina, Maui provide affordable housing to more than 250 low-income residents. They were built in 2001 as an affordable rental housing project, using state financing and tax credits, but the owners recently opted to take out the affordability requirements.

If an agreement to either extend affordable rents or acquire the property is not made within a reasonable time, under the bill, state public and private funds would provide the financing for the acquisition.

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“The Front Street apartment issue is just one example of how we at the Legislature can make a difference,” said Sen. Will Espero (Dist. 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages), Chair of the Senate Committee on Housing. “Hawai‘i’s cost of living is the highest in the nation, and it’s a shame that families struggle in our communities. Passing SB 2293 will help many working-class families with affordable housing.”

“I have lived here for the past twelve years and expected to live here until I die,” according to Kathryn Snyder, a long-time Fort Street resident, who submitted testimony for the hearing. “I am 82 years old, I retired to Maui for 23 years ago and live on the same income. I do not want to become homeless. This is very stressful not knowing what is going to happen.”

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